After initially bewildering His disciples with the statement that it is better for them that He goes in order for the comforter to make his advent (John 16:7. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you,) the Lord continues the conversation in the book of Acts by once again making a firm promise to His disciples that they will be supernaturally clothed with power from on high. Only this time He draws the advent of the Holy Spirit closer to home by instructing them to physically stay in Jerusalem and await the arrival of the gift God promised (it is a promise!) of the Holy Spirit who would empower and propel them into their destinies on earth of being witnesses of the Saviour.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
What a promise!
What a hope!
What an assurance!
What an encouragement to know that not only is there supernatural (yes, not natural but supernatural) assistance but it is assistance that has been unequivocally promised by God. It is help that is outside the natural and it is help that is anchored with a promise from God Himself. God’s promise is a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls, for our beings, a hope that can be totally trusted and counted upon – Hebrews 6:18-19
so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
What an assurance to know that not only is there supernatural charging for our lives and destinies but it is also based on the sure promise of God the Father.
How awesome is that?
Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for this promise for it was bound to come. The promise was already earthbound. He affirms the promise of the Holy Spirit with the following statement: “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Act 1:4-5
Immediately the Lord departs from them and is taken up to heaven, clinging to the promise of the Father of the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit, the disciples devote themselves to proactive waiting, i.e. prayer. Here’s Act 1:14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
This was not a passive waiting but a proactive invoking of the promise.
Based on their acceptance in faith of what The Lord had said, they were bidding the promise come like in the segment of The Lord’s Prayer which states, “thy will be done, thy kingdom come”. It was about calling into reality that which was already God’s desire and that on which God had already taken the initiative anyway through the promise.
But, they were not only united in prayer on a single occasion but continually so. This unison in prayer continued until the day of Pentecost, until the arrival of the promise Himself. We too should not lose heart if we don’t receive God’s promise immediately or on the first, second or even third attempt. God is not unfaithful. Like the first disciples, we need to keep in there until it happens for He who promised is faithful.
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
God’s promises are received not only by faith but by faith merged with patience.
And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The disciples did not waiver in their hope or give up on their expectation. Neither should we. They were “continually united in prayer” by means of which they hastened the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit coupled with their heightened expectations.
And they were not disappointed. At the appointed time while they were in their place of prayer the Spirit of God appeared suddenly, out of nowhere and without any formal introduction. The promise in itself was introduction enough. He appeared, quite literally out of nowhere, out of thin air – because He who promised is faithful.
We too should continue in united prayer and heightened expectation focusing on the promise and the faithfulness of He who gave the promise. For this reason we will, The Lord permitting, meet again to continue in united prayer on Friday 16 May and again God willing on the third Friday of every month until we all receive the promise.
Those of us who have already received the promise and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit need to also come to support those who are yet to receive and experience and to further grow in His power ourselves. We will also use this time to support you guys with a downpouring of His grace to take you through this stressful period and enable you to continue to engage with God through His word.
These will be Holy Spirit empowerment sessions where we expect God Himself to appear in His Spirit to empower and embolden His servants according to His promise in Act 1:8 “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
A personal experience of the Holy Spirit is indeed yours – stretch out in faith and make it your own.